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Target back online after computers crashed, unleashing #TargetDown

Target stores in Chicago and around the country suffered a computer malfunction Saturday afternoon, leading to long wait times.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

Will you remember where you were during #TargetDown, also known as the Targetgeddon?

In Chicago and all over the country, computer systems at Target stores stopped working Saturday afternoon, halting all transactions at registers and food vendors like Starbucks. People reported waiting in line for more than 45 minutes before giving up altogether.

People on Twitter started posting about the computer system crash around 1:30 p.m. At about 4:30 p.m., Target emailed a statement that the registers were back online.

“Target’s registers are fully back online and guests are able to purchase their merchandise again in all stores,” a spokeswoman for Target wrote in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times. “The temporary outage earlier today was the result of an internal technology issue that lasted for approximately two hours. Our technology team worked quickly to identify and fix the issue, and we apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this caused for our guests.”

The meltdown hit Target at the worst time for a mass-market merchant, given Saturdays are typically one of the busiest shopping days of the week. With Sunday being Father’s Day, the shutdown likely hurt sales as shoppers picked up last-minute gifts and supplies for cookouts.

Target has been vexed by technology before, most notably in 2013 when malware installed in its checkout system resulted in a data heist that exposed personal information in more than 40 million credit and debit card accounts. That debacle triggered lawsuits and eventually led to the departure of its CEO, Gregg Steinhafel.

Target further stated that the cause of the computer glitch was not a data breach or a security-related issue. No customer information was compromised.

During the downtime in Chicago, the lines grew, and shoppers took to social media to warn others and share a laugh.

Sun-Times political reporter Tina Sfondeles sent out a friend’s photos of the insanity.

Some shoppers even came up with conspiracy theories of their own.

So if you were considering a Target run today — perhaps on one of those new electric scooters — it is now safe to do so.

Contributing: Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer